A North East nature blog

Thanks for stopping by Common By Nature!

Focused on botany, insects and just about any wildlife that catches my eye, this blog brings together my observations on nature in the glorious North East.

As a naturalist, my main passion is biological recording so much of what you’ll see here will focus on finding and identifying wildlife. That said, from new places to visit to articles about ladybirds, anything could crop up!

James’ latest blog posts

Industrial orchids in Newcastle

A quick account of a fruitful few days spend admiring orchids in Newcastle, featuring Bee Orchids, helleborines and more!

Rearing ladybird larvae – an experiment

To help identify a few of the tricker species out there, recently, I’ve been experimenting by rearing ladybird larvae at home.

Brownfield wildlife at North Shields

Not only are brownfield sites phenomenal for wildlife but offer a rare look at what would happen if nature was permitted to reclaim larger tracts of our towns and cities.

Urban Botany on the Ouseburn

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of leading my first guided walk for Wild Intrigue, a fantastic ecotourism enterprise seeking to bring people in the North East closer to nature.

Bee Orchids at B&Q

Bee Orchids (Ophrys apifera) are like hen’s teeth in the North East. Sure, they’re fairly reliable at a few more calcareous sites in the near area (Silverlink, in particular) butContinue reading “Bee Orchids at B&Q”

Recording North East ladybirds: twenty-six species and counting

Inspired by the Natural History Society of Northumbria’s North East Ladybird Spot and the #LadybirdYearList challenge launched on Twitter by Andrew Jewels, this year I’ve been dedicating quite a bit of time to finding and recording the North East’s ladybirds.


British Ladybirds

Setting out on a journey of discovery in 2020, for a while now, I’ve been making a concerted effort to find and record ladybirds across North East of England.

A personal challenge, if you will, these pages share my findings and observations so far.

Recent posts on ladybirds

Heather Ladybirds at Rothbury

Continuing this year’s quest to find and record ladybirds across the North East, back at the end of March I popped up to Rothbury in search of the elusive HeatherContinue reading “Heather Ladybirds at Rothbury”

Rhyzobius chrysomeloides in Tyneside

Looking for ladybirds in the early part of this year has been great fun and already, it feels like I’m making some headway in tracking down a few of theContinue reading “Rhyzobius chrysomeloides¬†in Tyneside”

Exploring the scarcer ladybirds of Newcastle

While out and about in search of ladybirds this last few weeks, I have been lucky enough to stumble across a number of scarce and unusual species

Winter ladybirds on conifers

Continuing this year’s Ladybird Year List and capturing records for the North East Ladybird Spot, the last few weekends have been spent admiring winter ladybirds conifers. Scots Pine, Larch, exoticContinue reading “Winter ladybirds on conifers”


Of all the branches of natural history, it is botany that interests me most.

While I am certainly not an expert, despite finding myself in the fortunate position of becoming a BSBI County Recorder, here you’ll find observations, articles and musings on plant life in the North East.

From exquisite orchids to urban trees, let’s see what we can discover!